Mother and three children killed in Bali landslide

Torrential downpours caused a family home to collapse into Gianyar’s Tiyis River on Dec. 8. Photo via Denpasar Viral
Torrential downpours caused a family home to collapse into Gianyar’s Tiyis River on Dec. 8. Photo via Denpasar Viral

A family home in Batubulan, Gianyar, collapsed into the river below at 6:30am on Saturday morning, killing a mother and three children and seriously injuring the father. The foundations of the house, which was perched above the ten-meter-deep Tiyis River, had become unstable due to heavy rainfall.

Following the incident, a joint team of regional police, search and rescue teams, Gianyar Regional Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) and Gianyar Military District Command arrived at the scene of the landslide on Jl. Pratu. The evacuation effort was underway by 8am, deploying around 350 personnel equipped with heavy equipment, hammers and chainsaws, reported Nusa Bali.

Sadly, the outcome of the search uncovered the bodies of four people, named in the same report as Ni Made Lintang Ayu Widmerti, 31, and her three children, Ni Putu Deta Vania Larasati, 6, I Made Adin Radita Paguna, 3, and I Nyoman Ali Anggara Paguna, 2.

Six-year-old Ni Putu Deta Vania Larasati, a student of Denpasar Elementary School, was the first victim to be found dead. In the hours to follow, her three-year-old brother was discovered in a sleeping position, curled up around a bolster. “At first we found a pillow. When we pulled the victim’s body appeared,” said Ketut Gede Ardana, Head of the Denpasar Search and Rescue Office, to the source. The youngest casualty, a toddler, was found about a meter away from his mother’s body.

The father, I Made Oktara Dwipaguna, 30, was the only family member to be recovered alive, despite being buried under a pile of rubble, as confirmed by Gianyar BPBD chief Anak Agung Oka Digjaya in a report by Kompas.

One of the witnesses to the whole event was the children’s grandmother, Ni Nyoman Martani, 53, who had been outside making her daily religious offerings at the time of the disaster. She said she knew something was awry when she felt the garage door vibrate, “I thought it was an earthquake,” she explained. “I immediately shouted into the house to try and wake up the children and grandchildren, but before I had finished speaking the house had plunged into the river,” she told Nusa Bali.

The night before the accident, Martani claims to have had a strange feeling, saying that one of the children had been unusually agitated and unwilling to sleep. Incidentally, local residents living around the Tiyus River have long suspected the waterway to be haunted. According to a different article in Nusa Bali, the riverbank has been the scene of many strange sightings, including several of Kuntilanak, the long-haired ghost who is believed to have died in childbirth according to Javanese folklore.

The sole survivor, I Made Oktara Dwipaguna, is currently receiving treatment at Sanglah Hospital. The hospital’s PR officer, Dewa Ketut Kresna, said that staff had received the patient at 10:20am on Saturday morning, commenting to Nusa Bali, “His condition is currently stable. He has undergone surgery for abdominal wounds and there is a fracture in his arm… There are also injuries to his face, arms, and legs.”

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